Resources

Below are details of resources relating to agile working

Podcast Series: The Future of Work Podcast

The Leeds University Business School podcast explores the future of work and is hosted by Faculty International Manager, Ellen Wang, and Careers Consultant, Marc Steward. The series explores various key themes surrounding the working environment, inviting business school alumni, academics, and industry experts. They cover topics such as how AI impacts recruitment, hybrid working, and what skills we may need for the future. You can find all episodes here

Research article: Out of the Panopticon and into Exile: Visibility and control in distributed new culture organizations

This paper builds a theoretical argument for exile as an alternative metaphor to the panopticon, for conceptualizing visibility and control in the context of distributed ‘new culture’ organizations. Such organizations emphasize team relationships between employees who use digital technologies to stay connected with each other and the organization. I propose that in this context, a fear of exile – that is, a fear of being left out, overlooked, ignored or banished – can act as a regulating force that inverts the radial spatial dynamic of the panopticon and shifts the responsibility for visibility, understood both in terms of competitive exposure and existential recognition, onto workers. As a consequence these workers enlist digital technologies to become visible at the real or imagined organizational centre. A conceptual appreciation of exile, as discussed in existential philosophy and postcolonial theory, is shown to offer productive grounds for future research on how a need for visibility in distributed, digitized and increasingly precarious work environments regulates employee subjectivity, in a manner that is not captured under traditional theories of ICT-enabled surveillance in organizations. The full article is here

Research article: Microsoft New Future of Work Report 2022

Due to the “Great Remote Work Experiment” that began in March 2020 when workplaces around the world rapidly shut down, work is changing faster than it has in a generation. As many people now return to the workplace and begin to experiment with hybrid work, a range of different outcomes is possible. Thankfully, researchers at Microsoft and from around the world have been investigating evolving hybrid work practices and developing technologies that will address the biggest new challenges while taking advantage of the biggest new opportunities.​ This Microsoft New Future of Work Report 2022 summarizes important recent research developments related to hybrid work. It highlights themes that have emerged in the findings of the past year and brings to the fore older research that has become newly relevant. Our hope is that the report will facilitate knowledge sharing across the research community and among those who track research related to work and productivity. This research area is unfolding as rapidly as work is changing, and the purpose of this report is to help the community build on what has been learned this past year.​ Never before has there been such an opportunity to actively shape the future of work. With research and careful study, we can create a new future of work that is meaningful, productive, and equitable. The full article is here

New resources on home working

Have a look at these publications if you are interested in improving home working life, and working 'smartly'.

Research article: The Fatiguing Effects of Camera Use in Virtual Meetings:
A Within-Person Field Experiment

When the global workforce moved en masse to working from home, many organizations leaned heavily into virtual platforms with video call capabilities (Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams) to replace face-to-face meetings. While such meetings offered a chance to maintain social connection in a time of social distance, a few weeks into remote work, “Zoom fatigue” and “virtual meeting fatigue” entered our vernacular, capturing the feeling of fatigue and exhaustion that comes from being stuck in an endless cycle of virtual meetings.

Little research, however, attempted to isolate and understand the impact of the video camera itself on Zoom fatigue. How much does having your camera on contribute to your level of fatigue? Should you keep your video camera on or off? More details here and the study paper is here

Zoom fatigue
Research article: Understanding constant connectivity to work: How and for whom is constant connectivity related to employee well-being?

An interesting paper examining the effects of constant connectivity for employees by focusing on how and for whom constant connectivity might be related to employee well-being. Additionally, organizational-level antecedents of constant connectivity are investigated. (https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/325953094.pdf)

The Agile Future Forum

Our ambition is to define the business value of workforce agility in supporting the competitiveness of UK plc and provide the leadership and practical support required to increase agile working practices across UK plc. https://www.agilefutureforum.co.uk

The Work Foundation

As the pace of economic change continues to disrupt the ways we work and do business, our mission is to support everyone in the UK to access rewarding and high quality work and enable businesses to realise the potential of their teams. To do this, we engage directly with practitioners, businesses and workers, producing rigorous applied research that allows us to develop practical solutions and policy recommendations to tackle the challenges facing the world of work. https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/work-foundation/

Research article: Evaluation of a novel intervention to reduce burnout in doctors-in-training using self-care and digital wellbeing strategies: a mixed-methods pilot

Burnout for doctors-in-training is increasingly cause for concern. Our objectives were to assess the feasibility, acceptability and impact of a novel intervention to reduce burnout and improve wellbeing. This is the first wellbeing intervention for medical doctors to include strategies for work-life boundary management and digital wellbeing. https://bmcmededuc.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s12909-020-02160-y.pdf

Majority of employers seeing presenteeism in their workforce, report finds

Experts urge businesses to take preventative action to support wellbeing, as CIPD research shows home workers are worst affected. https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/news/articles/majority-of-employers-seeing-presenteeism-in-their-workforce

The problem isn’t remote working – it’s clinging to office-based practices

This is what we should be asking ourselves: if 9-5 had never been invented; if “office” were a foreign term; if the concept of a meeting sounded like gibberish – in short, if today were day one of the history of work – how would you design how you work?

 

Interesting article by Alexia Cambon on the Guardian

New trends in Rural Co-working

A recent online workshop hosted by Northumbria University and attended by over 50 coworking operators, policy-makers and researchers has revealed a number of interesting working trends that are likely to shape the future of rural communities. More details here

Research article: Tired of email? Examining the role of extraversion in building energy resources after dealing with work-email

Office-based work today involves dealing with email, despite being denigrated and lauded in almost equal measures. Using the Conservation of Resources theory we examine whether Extraversion (expressed through two facets) acts as a resource to explain the differential impact that work-email has on people’s energy resources (relating to fatigue and boredom). More details here

Agile working book
Agile_working_book.jpg

Book: Agile Working and Well-Being in the Digital Age co-edited by agiLab's director, Dr Emma Russell

The Agile Organisation
The Difference between Agile Working and Flexible Working

For years the two terms have been used in a rather arbitrary way. This had led to confusion and not benefited the management of modern workplaces. The dictionary meaning of flexible is adaptable, variable, or easily persuadable, tractable. Not the same as agile which evokes speed – rapid adaptability. https://www.advanced-workplace.com/difference-agile-working-flexible-working/

What Great Mentorship Looks Like in a Hybrid Workplace

In a time of incredible change, professional disruption, and overwhelming loneliness, mentorship can anchor us. But how do we mentor in a remote, distributed workforce? https://hbr.org/2021/05/what-great-mentorship-looks-like-in-a-hybrid-workplace?

HR: getting smart about agile working

Organisational agility is critical to business success. It has the potential to offer organisations practical solutions to meet the evolving needs of their workforce, as well as controlling operational costs and finding competitive advantage in greater customer focus and innovation. 

The findings of this research are based on a survey of HR leaders, an employee survey, focus groups and case study illustrations. https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/strategy/change/agile-working-report

The Real Value of Middle Managers

Middle managers have long had reputations as ineffective or weak supervisors. But research shows that, in fact, they’re often the people that make an organization run smoothly between hierarchies. Especially today, as companies become more reliant on virtual modes of management and communication, investing in these managers as “connecting leaders” is vital. To do so, focus on four key types of connecting leaders and their associated practices. There are rewards and challenges for each; but successfully addressing them can help make your business more successful coming out of the pandemic. More at: https://hbr.org/2021/06/the-real-value-of-middle-managers?

Technology is changing how we talk to each other

Zoom, Facebook, group text messages: This past year, technology has sometimes felt like the glue that’s kept many of our relationships alive. More and more, we talk to each other with technology in between us. Jeff Hancock, PhD, director of the Social Media Lab at Stanford University, discusses how this is affecting human communication, including whether people are more likely to lie online, whether the versions of ourselves that we present on social media are authentic, how artificial intelligence infiltrates our text messages, why video calls exhaust us more than in-person conversations, and more.

The podcast epsiode is here: https://www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/technology-communication

eWorkLife podcast series

The eWorkLife podcast series offers long-form conversations with academics and thought leaders, on how technology can help and hinder us in managing our work and wellbeing. These tell personal stories of career journeys that demonstrate a common theme of just how unplanned an academic career often is, including failures, as well as successes. My guests describe the roots of their research interests, how these have evolved and what inspires their work today. We also explore the insights they have gained into the design and use of technology, both to gather data and create interventions, and give practical hints and tips about how we can take control of our digital technology to thrive.

Research article: The work-habits intervention model: A 12-month study to change work-email habits

We present a Work-habit Intervention Model (WhIM) to explain and predict how to change work-habits to be more effective. The WhIM was evaluated in a 12-month wait-list intervention study designed to improve work-email habits for workers in a UK organization (N = 127 T1; N = 58 T3; N = 46 all data). Findings were that the two-stage process changed work-email habits for those with higher levels of self-efficacy, which predicted well-being in terms of reduced negative affect (via perceived goal attainment). More details here